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Pizzeria's pontiff picture pie praises Pope Francis

Bleeker Street Pizza chef Tony Salihaj created the pope's image on a pizza from mozzarella cheese, ricotta, tomatoes, anchovies and peppers.

By Ben Hooper
Bleeker Street Pizza in New York is offering pies with the likeness of Pope Francis created from cheese and toppings. WABC-TV video screenshot
Bleeker Street Pizza in New York is offering pies with the likeness of Pope Francis created from cheese and toppings. WABC-TV video screenshot

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A New York pizzeria has cooked up a papal tribute pie featuring the likeness of noted pizza fan Pope Francis created from cheese and toppings.

Tony Salihaj, chef at Bleeker Street Pizza, said he and a friend came up with a recipe that puts Pope Francis' image on top of a pizza in mozzarella cheese, ricotta, tomatoes, anchovies and peppers. "We want to do something special for the Pope, he's coming back to the city," Salihaj told WABC-TV.

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Salihaj said he created the skin tone for the image by mixing raspberry dressing with ricotta.

"We decided to make an image of him the best we can," Salihaj said. "We're pizza men we're not artists."

The chef said he believes the "pope of the people," a noted pizza lover who once accepted an impromptu pizza delivery on the streets of Naples, would approve of the pizzeria.

"We try to be fair with our products and our food," he told the New York Post. "It's not all about money, it's about getting a good product out there."

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The restaurant said it is already having trouble keeping up with demand for the pontiff pie.

Meanwhile, Times Square restaurant Buca Di Beppo is courting the pope's attention by offering a reserved parking spot for the pontiff's Fiat 500.

"Reserved for Popemobile," the sign reads, "Ten Hail Marys if you park here."

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